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McAleese enters administration with McGrathNicol

Recapitalisation deal expires as unhappy shareholders stand firm on property rental


Troubled transport firm McAleese is in voluntary administration.

Four administrators from forensic accountancy McGrathNicol are now in charge and will now subject each of the group’s four main businesses to an “urgent financial and operational assessment”.

All up, Joseph David Hayes, Jason Preston, William James Harris and Keith Crawford will control 20 entities, including Cootes Transport Group, WA Freightlines and Jolly’s Transport Services.

They are part of four main businesses:

  • Heavy Haulage and Lifting – comprising McAleese Transport, National Crane Hire and Walter Wright Cranes and offers integrated heavy haulage, general freight and lifting solutions across Australia
  • Specialised Transport or WA Freight Group – providing express transport services to and from all major capital cities both interstate and intrastate
  • Oil and Gas – comprising two businesses, Cootes Transport and Refuel International. Cootes Transport distributes liquid fuels, chemicals, LPG and other petroleum products across Australia. Refuel International is a manufacturer of specialist fuel transfer equipment. It is owned by Sunshine Refuellers, an entity to which the administrators have not been appointe
  • Resources – providing bulk haulage and ancillary onsite services to mining companies operating in the key resource producing regions of Western Australia. Resources also operates a quarry in Cloncurry, Queensland.

A deal with financier SC Lowy Consortium, which is presently McAleese’s largest secured creditor, was due to end on Friday if a compromise related to property rental arrangements with some shareholders through TTPH Pty Ltd was not found and a waiver from Atlas Iron on haulage contracts was not supplied.

TTPH was unmoved.

“As a result, McAleese’s uncompromised senior debt and all accrued interest was immediately due and payable,” the McAleese board says.

“The SC Lowy Consortium declined to enter into any new forbearance arrangement.

“This left the board with no choice but to place the McAleese Group into voluntary administration in order to protect the interests of shareholders, creditors, employees, suppliers and other stakeholders.”

Those supporting the restructuring deal, SC Lowy and interests linked to MD Mark Rowsthorn, will now look for an alternative mechanism to effect the recapitalisation, the McAleese board says.

McGrathNicol says the Cootes sale process that began before its appointment will proceed.

McAleese’s shares have been suspended on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) and the first creditors’ will be on September 8.

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